The War on Drugs
The history of the drug policy in the United States is basically based on two separate ideas. First the United States is focused on supply reduction, which is the reduction and the control of the supply of drugs through legislation, law enforcement, interdiction, sentencing, and incarceration. Second, is focusing on demand reduction. This objective is to reduce the amount of drugs that are being demanded by using education, prevention and treatment (Harrison, Backenheimer, Inciardi, 1995). Anti-drug policies and legislation differ from state to state, sometimes even county to county and on the federal level. Different areas of the country have different concerns relating to drugs so there has to be different legislations to deal with the unique situations that those concerns present.
Anti-drug policies date back to as far as 1887 when at the federal level, the banning of imported opium was put into effect. In 1960, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, which placed a ban on the transportation of mislabeled food and drugs. On the state level, an ordinance was passed in San Francisco in 1875 that prohibited people from smoking opium inside of opium dens. Also on the state level was the legislation put into place that aimed at limiting the supply of morphine and cocaine with the states jurisdictions. Known as the most influential legislative act ever passed that concerned drugs was the Harrison Act. The Act went on to set the standard of narcotic regulation in the United States for the next fifty years and was based on the fact that the Federal Government could raise revenue by taxing and regulating the distribution and sale of narcotics. The Act ultimately made it illegal to use morphine and cocaine in a nonmedical manner and required all individuals who imported, manufactured, produced, compounded, sold, dispensed, or distributed cocaine and morphine to register with the Treasury Department. He or she also had to pay special taxes and...
References: Harrison, L. D., Backenheimer, M., & Inciardi, J. A. (n.d.). History of drug legislation. CEDRO Centrum voor Drugsonderzoek. Retrieved October 4, 2010, from http://www.cedro-uva.org/lib/harrison.cannabis.05.html
Inciardi, J.A. 1992. The War on Drugs II. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1992.
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